America gets divorced: what about custody of the energy and the nukes?

Part three in a series.

First look at this map:

Now this one, which indicates the location of US military installations: Continue reading

Nota Bene #117: Wake Up!

“Hollywood is so crooked that Mafia gangsters are entirely outclassed and don’t stand a chance. People in Hollywood are smarter. They have more sophisticated knowledge of money and deals and how to steal legally rather than illegally.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #114: Big Star

“The radio makes hideous sounds.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Visualization of the scale of the oil spill

Andy Linter at spent some time with Google Maps recently and came up with a visualization tool for the scale of the BP oil slick. When you got to his site, his site grabs your location from your IP address and then moves an overlay of the present size of the oil slick from the Gulf to over your home. The image at right is how big it would be if it were centered near my home in the Denver metro area, Colorado.

After the last census I calculated what percentage of Colorado’s population lived between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, and it was somewhere between 70-80% of the state. So if that slick were here in Colorado, 3.5 to 4 million people would be covered in oil.

Click on the image to get a feel for how much of your neck of the woods it would cover.

h/t to S&R’s own wufnik

Nota Bene #111: Mmmmm… Beeeeeer

Sorry for the long absence. Let’s carry on, shall we? “If you listen to the guys up in the stands, pretty soon you’ll be up there sitting with them.” Who said it? Continue reading

Gulf oil has likely reached the Loop Current

The image at right is a composite of the most recent MODIS satellite image of the spill area in the Gulf of Mexico and a National Weather Service model of the Loop Current. It was created by Brad Johnson of Think Progress’ The Wonk Room.

The composite image shows that the oil spill area has almost certainly reached the Loop Current, which is one of the major currents in the Gulf of Mexico. The loop current runs right past the Florida Keys and then meets up with the Gulf Stream, and if the tar balls that have been washing up on Key West beaches over the last day or two are from the spill (they may be from older spills years ago), then we should assume that the MODIS satellite imagery is the minimum extent of the spill area. Given that scientists aboard a NOAA survey ship have observed a plume at least 45 km long and 10 km wide that’s thousands of feet below the surface (and thus not visually detectable from the surface), it’s reasonable to say that the observed surface slick does not represent the full extent of the spill to date. And NOAA has now closed 19% of federally-controlled Gulf waters to all fishing (map).

Industry vs. scientists – who profits from climate disruption?

“Follow the money – it’s all about the research grants.”

This and similar accusations are commonly made against anyone who advocates on behalf science-based climate policies at all levels, all they way from national academies of science down through professional scientific societies, universities, research groups, and even down to individual scientists. S&R decided to follow the money to see who profits the most from climate disruption, the fossil fuel-related industries or the global climate science community. Note: Many of the numbers below are so large that there’s not a common style convention for writing them. For this post, trillions of dollars will be indicated like this: $1464 billion.

Fossil fuel-related industries are more than just the organizations that extract the crude oil, coal, and natural gas from the ground. There’s also the groups that transport the fuels via ship, train, and pipeline. Then there are the refiners who turn the crude oil or natural gas into unleaded, diesel, plastic, and fertilizer feedstock. And there’s the utilities that keep the lights on by burning natural gas and coal. All of these industries make a great deal of money because carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not priced or regulated, and they all risk losing a great deal of money should that change. Continue reading

Nota Bene #101: Your Pal, Mike S.

“The guys who are shooting films now are technically brilliant, but there’s no content in their films. I marvel at what I see and wish I could have done a shot like that. But shots are secondary for my films, and with some of these films, it’s all about the shots. What’s the point? I’m not sure people know what points to make.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #100: Il Planetario di Figaro

Wow, 100 issues of Nota Bene! Props to Russ for helping me for a while with this nifty little S&R feature. Never mind all that now, let’s get on with this issue. “What splendid buildings our architects would be able to execute if only they could finally be less obedient to gravity!” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #99: Heed the Peace Gnome

“You just pick up a chord, go twang, and you’ve got music.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #98: A More Glorious Dawn Awaits

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Who said it? Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: independent statisticians reject recent global cooling claims in blind analysis



Climate disruption deniers have been claiming for years now that the global temperature has been cooling down, even though the temperature data clearly shows that it isn’t. Scientists and statisticians have pointed out that, mathematically speaking, the recent reduced warming trend is well within the noise, or put another way, it’s weather, not climate.

A new report by the Associated Press reveals what many of us knew already – the denier’s claims don’t hold water, statistically speaking. The report is intriguing because the AP provided their data to four independent statisticians without telling them what it was, and all four found that the slower warming of the past decade was statistically insignificant with respect to the actual data. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: Climate disruption will disrupt volcanism too



Nature News reported last week that vulcanologists have concluded that climate disruption will increase the number of volcanic eruptions. According to the article, the reason is that climate disruption is expected to reduce the amount of ice present atop volcanoes and thus reduce the amount of material keeping volcanoes from erupting. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: ACCCE hired Bonner, but didn't notify Congress of forgeries when they were discovered



Before the House voted on the American Climate and Energy Security Act (ACES) earlier this year, someone hired Bonner & Associates (hereafter Bonner) to manufacture some grassroots opposition against ACES. At least one employee did so by forging letters from non-existent people to Representative Tom Perriello of Virginia. These letters were discovered, Bonner claims to have fired the employee, and a partner at Bonner apologized to the two minority groups from which the letters were supposedly sent. The apologies were, it’s fair to say, emphatically not accepted.

Since the Bonner story broke last Friday, there have been a lot of new information about who hired them, whether there were other Congresspeople who received forged letters, the legality or lack thereof, and an official response from a House committee with subpoena powers. Continue reading

Senator Claire McCaskill tweets to weaken ACES (updated)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is calling for a further weakening of the American Climate and Energy Security Act (ACES) that passed out of the House last week. Of course, that’s not what she calls it. Sen. McCaskill twittered last week:

I hope we can fix cap and trade so it doesn’t unfairly punish businesses and families in coal dependent states like Missouri. (emphasis mine)

I can’t help but wonder what happened to the Senator who dared mention that oil prices shouldn’t be allowed to fall too far at the Rocky Mountain Roundtable, Session 2, Part 3, during the DNC:

There’s a certain reality here that it is important that we don’t get gas too cheap again, and I certainly agree with what [Randy Udall] said. We will never see the days of… when people are pumping $1, $1.50 gas again. And that may not be an all bad thing because it will motivate the politics on this issue to the forefront so we have a sense of urgency.

Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: Port of Long Beach powers BP supertankers with electricity



Maritime shipping is responsible for emitting 3% of global carbon emissions, roughly equal to air travel and more than most nations. Worse than that, however, is the fact that most oceangoing vessels burn heavy fuel oil (aka bunker fuel), the heavy sludge that’s left after every other useful product has been refined from petroleum. Bunker fuel emits a truly massive amount of nitrogen oxide compounds (NOx) and, due to its high sulfur content, a huge amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2). According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, one of the ways to reduce emissions at port was to implement “shore-side electricity” in port. This enables a suitably equipped shipping vessel to operate off of comparably clean electricity instead of extremely dirty bunker fuel.

And according to an article last week in the Long Beach Press-Telegram , the first supertanker with a shore-side electricity retrofit pulled into the Port of Long Beach and plugged in. Continue reading

Welcome to the Kindleverse

by Lara Amber

I’ve never been an early adopter of technology. I, like most people, come in at wave two or three, but well before grandmas finally get that machine everyone else had for a decade. So ordering a Kindle 2 the day it was announced by Bezo goes against the grain. I’ve had it for a day, and let me tell you it’s going to change the world.

I’m not talking about the sleek design, the high price tag, or the status symbol of carting around the next hot gadget. This, as has been said before, is the iPod of the book world, and its effect will be just as profound. Continue reading